“Life is too complicated not to be orderly.”
While I am by no means a big Martha Stewart fan, this quote from her succinctly describes the importance of organization. I am a firm believer that when your tasks and belongings are organized, you can better focus on reaching your full potential.
As we begin this fresh new semester, I decided to create an organization guide for the public relations student so that from your backpack to your bedroom, you are organized and ready to take on whatever this spring semester has for you.
Start with a planner that suits you
Vertical, horizontal or block layouts are three common styles of planner layouts. You can even choose from small, medium and large planners. Personally, I use a large, 8 ½-by-11-inch planner that displays one week at a time vertically, beginning with Monday and ending with Sunday. I list my classes for the week and their corresponding assignments and deadlines. Between the weeks of my planner are monthly block calendars where I can easily keep track of important events such as meetings, conferences, trips and appointments. At the beginning of each week, usually on Sunday evening, I copy these important events from my monthly calendar onto the weekly section so that they are easier to track day to day.
Use an additional “to do” list if necessary
I don’t know about you, but I have even more tasks to complete each day than those that make their way into my planner. Deadlines, meetings and assignments are for the planner— errands, reminders and menial tasks go onto my “to do” list. “Clean bathroom,” “vacuum dorm,” “check mail,” and yes, even “get nails done” are tasks that may seem unnecessary to write down, but I know that unless they are on my list, I often find them getting lost in the shuffle. These are the small things that must be done often in order to help me keep my crazy life on track. (Okay, so maybe not the nail thing, but you get my point!) A “to do” list helps me organize my ever-spinning mind and focus on what needs to be done.
Make use of sticky notes
Sitting in class, a meeting or chapel when a task or deadline pops into your head? I keep a sticky note pad in my backpack and my purse at all times just for moments like those! Jot down whatever came to mind and stick the note to your planner, “to do” list or even your cell phone—somewhere you’ll see it and be reminded of the task later.
Keep your documents organized
Currently, I am the executive editor of the Mad Anthony yearbook, the social media coordinator for WUPRSSA, an account executive for Red Brick Communications, a member of the Society of Professional Journalists—oh, and a sophomore public relations and journalism student (almost forgot about that part!) So I have a lot of different documents to keep track of. For the classes I am taking this semester, I keep a binder full of paper and six folders, one per class. For each of the organizations I am involved in, I keep a separate notebook tailored to my needs for each organization. For yearbook, for example, I use a notebook with a clipboard on the outside to help me keep track of my own notes along with loose documents and clippings that have inspired me. For PRSSA, I keep a leather padfolio for notes from meetings and events. (If you do not own a padfolio as a public relations major, you should! They are available online and in our bookstore.) Find your best system and invest in it.
Use a wall calendar for more basic dates
I keep track of holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, school breaks and the like on a large wall calendar in my room. Find a themed calendar that features your favorite animal, location or team to bring some personality into your organization.
Organize your dorm room or bedroom to your advantage
My best tip for dorm room organization? Let your bed be your bed! Keep all school- and work-related items away from your sleeping space whenever possible. I often work on my dorm couch, and I store away my books and papers neatly in my desk drawers or on my shelf. Keep work and play separate for your own sanity!
Follow these tips and make this brand new semester your most organized yet!
Maura Fenske is a sophomore Public Relations major. She serves as the social media coordinator for the Waynesburg University Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter, executive editor of the Mad Anthony Yearbook and an account executive for Red Brick Communications. Maura hopes to combine her passion for public relations, writing and sports in her future career.